Life is like an educational institution where the nuances of living in peace and tolerance are self-taught. The events in our lives are pre-destined and without exception each individual has to face the highs and lows of life. This is a continuous process in which none are to be blamed, in particular God. In reality it is our Karma that pushes up or pulls us down. "The will of God will never take you where the grace of god will not protect you.
" Sunanda Ananth, the author, found herself posed with questions quite often by her friends and other Sai devotees - 'Why is it that we suffer despite being pious? What wrong have we done? Why does not God come to our rescue, and so on and so forth? Pondering over these questions, her quest for the answers began.
At this juncture, a spiritually-acclaimed person came into her life to guide her in her quest. Popularly known as Udi Baba alias the Late Sri Manickam, he mentored Sunanda towards deep spirituality and contributed significantly to her progress in this path.
Sunanda had always been a motivational speaker and during her interactive sessions she came to understand that for many devotees, devotion was superfluous and need-based. Through her personal interaction she strives to make Sai devotees realise that unwavering faith and unconditional surrender are the foundations to spirituality. We only need to cleanse our minds to realise the presence of Sai within us.
Taking her inspiration and guidance from the sacred text Shri Sai Satcharita and other related and trusted writings on the life and leelas of Sai Baba, the author seeks to empower Sai devotees with the contents of this hook. This book has been conceived with a new approach where a review after each chapter attempts to answer some of the queries likely to arise to the reader.
15'h December, 2015, was a turning point in the life of Sitnanda Ananth, the author of this book. While she was attending to her routine domestic chores, she heard a voice addressing her and asking her to pen a book based on Shri Sai Satcharita, the life and teachings of Shirdi Sai Baba. Sunanda had been a Sai devotee for the past twenty years and has personally witnessed the many miracles of Sai in her life. She could hardly imagine herself in the capacity of authoring a book. But she believed that if Sai Baba had triggered this thought in her mind, then he would do the writing too using her as a medium. She surrendered the project at his lotus feet for guidance and immediately felt all apprehensions vanishing and thus began her literary journey.
I have been reading Shri Sai Satcharita regularly since 1997. With so many years of reading I have never been able to tell myself that I have an in-depth knowledge of Sai's life and teachings. His life is unfathomable and his ways are inscrutable. With every reading, several new questions arise in my mind about his practices, style of teaching and guidance to the devotees towards self-realization. This led to a focused reading which enabled me to comprehend the role of Sadguru in enlightening his devotees. Sai Baba put forth the concept of co-existence of worldly living as well as spiritual awakening. I was getting drawn deeper and deeper into Sai's teachings and became desirous of sharing this learning with other Sai devotees. This yearning persisted in my subconscious mind and gradually Baba blessed me in realizing my pursuit.
On 15th December, 2015, while I was busy with my morning chores, I heard a clear voice asking me to put my thoughts on paper. This gave me courage and enthusiasm to make a beginning. I surrendered myself at the divine feet of Sadguru Sai and He made the journey of writing possible. It has been a one-and-a-half-year blissful journey of writing since then.
The initial plan was that a concise version of Shri Sai Satcharita would be attempted by me in which the teachings and messages of each chapter would be highlighted. But Baba as ever, had other plans for me and prompted the idea of having a review section after every chapter in the form of questions and answers. This was Baba's design and I was merely executing. The essence of each chapter has been brought out through this review section.
A devotee may ask why another book on SAI when there are so many already. The answer is simple - exploring the life and teachings of Baba cannot be limited to some books. His leelas are still happening, even decades after his Nlahasamadhi. He is the Parabrahma Avatar who lives amidst us eternally and continues to shower his divine grace on us.
Being a novice in book writing, I felt discouraged at times fearing failure; but he who was instrumental in getting this done, provided the necessary support, and that is the ultimate truth. In my case also Baba brought me into contact with persons who were spiritually evolved, eminent speakers on Sai, writers, authors and such others. Each day had been a new experience when inputs for the book in terms of content, presentation, design and such poured in. In fact, another Sai devotee volunteered to do the initial editing of the book. An overwhelming feeling of completeness was what I got through this journey.
What did I learn during this course of writing?
Fear not; worry not, for the doer is Sai. Bestow total faith in the all-pervasive Sai; be patient and live to love. Sai knows what is best for us. Surrender to his holy feet ... to liberate.
When someone hears or reads about the leelas of Sai, several questions are bound to arise in their mind in order to understand the actions of Sai Of course, each of Sai's words or actions is far too profound for us mere mortals to comprehend at the first instance. Each time we read about Sai, newer and different queries do arise and as we seek the answers, the fathomless love that he unconditionally spread about becomes apparent.
Mrs. Sunanda, a truly blessed soul who has become one with Sai through her devotion over the years; has constantly strived in her quest to practice what Sai preached and, like every other devotee, constantly tries to understand Sai's words and actions. Through her endeavor in this book, she has attempted to share some of the answers she has been blessed to find out in that quest so far.
While reading what Mrs. Sunanda has shared with us, a devotee is able to more readily appreciate the love that Sai teaches us all, and thus help spread the same love to other Sai devotee and everyone else.
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